Aaron Douglas

Aaron Douglas

First court appearance for Chilliwack double murder suspect

49 days on the lam, Aaron Douglas arrested Sept. 25

With his hair dyed blonde and guarded by four sheriffs, accused double murderer Aaron Douglas wore a white T-shirt and stood with arms crossed during a brief court appearance in Chilliwack Court Friday afternoon.

Douglas was apprehended in Abbotsford Thursday night after 49 days on the lam.

He is accused in the Aug. 7 murders of Richard Blackmon and Tyler Belcourt in a downtown Chilliwack apartment. He is also accused in the attempted murder of a woman who survived the attack. Her name cannot be reported due to a publication ban.

Judge Roger Cutler remanded Douglas and granted Crown Counsel Lori Stevens’ request for a no-contact order for a long list of individuals.

The RCMP Integrated Homicide Investigation Unit (IHIT) issued a statement after the arrest, saying it was due to the collaboration between several RCMP units and the Abbotsford Police Department.

“The cost of a homicide is felt across the entire Lower Mainland, and the continued success of IHIT is a direct result of the integration and co-operation of municipal and provincial resources towards the common goal of enhanced public safety,” said assistant superintendent Dwayne McDonald, officer in charge of IHIT.

“The professional and co-ordinated approach taken by CFSEU [the Combined Special Forces Enforcement Unit], Chilliwack RCMP, IHIT and our Abbotsford Police partner to safely arrest Douglas was commendable,” said assistant chief superintendent Kevin Hackett,Chief Officer for CFSEU BC. “These teams worked persistently and were dedicated and determined to doing everything they could in support of one another to ensure the public remained safe while he was at large.”

Douglas had an unrelated attempted murder charge dropped in BC Supreme Court just two weeks before the Aug. 7 incident on Gore Avenue.

Two days after shooting victim Jeff Karpes testified in court, Crown Counsel took a guilty plea from Douglas on one weapons charge and stayed an attempted murder charge.

“Based on the evidence that had gone before the court we decided there was no substantial likelihood of conviction,” Stevens told the Times on July 24.

Karpes’ testimony proved to be inconsistent and unreliable upon cross examination by defence lawyer Ken Beatch.

Outside the courthouse on July 24, Douglas’s first cousin Roxanne Peters and two of his friends awaited his release.

“He’s going to straighten out,” Peters said of the troubled Douglas, who has a long criminal record with convictions on weapons and drug charges.

On Thursday at about 4:30 p.m., Abbotsford Police officers and members of the emergency response team surrounded a home on Rainbow Avenue.

When Douglas failed to exit the home, they launched several flash-bang distraction devices and activated their sirens. The officers also tossed canisters of gas into both the front and the back of the house.

Douglas finally exited the home, crawling on his hands and knees, at about 6:45 p.m. and was arrested.

His next court appearance is scheduled in Chilliwack for Oct. 7.

– with files from the Abbotsford News